Coloured dirt on a flat surface
I've been a huge far of Chuck Close for years and years, and when I finally got his DVD a couple of years back, it just re-enforced my opinion of him and his work. Last night I watched an interview where Robert Storr and Chuck Close have a chat, and I was so inspired by it, I felt such a sudden fondness for what we do, that I decided to just go ahead and paraphrase the bits that got to me. Hope you feel similarly excited about the dance we do:
"It’s not just what I’m doing, but the choices that make it a different experience for the viewer. Painters are orchestrators of experience, that’s what we’re doing. There’s a kind of ritual dance that takes place in the studio, we’re performing artists, only no one watches us perform. But we’re dancing in front of the rectangle, we’re making these gestures at times when it’s like conducting music. And then the painting is the frozen evidence that that ritual dance, that performance took place. And it goes out into the world, and it stands in for the artist and that performance. But when a viewer gets involved with that, he can almost dance along with it, you can understand the nature of that performance.
And that’s why, when I go to museums or galleries and look at peoples work, there’s a vicarious experience when you realise that this was made. This is not a photograph that comes up in one moment, it was made by hand. Painting is the most transcendent of all mediums, I think, because it denies its physical reality. It is coloured dirt on a flat surface, it makes space where there is no space, it reminds you of life experiences you’ve had, it transports you somewhere else.
Coloured dirt on a flat surface, it can make you cry. It’s kind of amazing.
So you see, what I’m trying to do, is not just make Roy Lichtenstein’s nose" (he was pointing to his portrait of Lichtenstein as he said this), but give you something of a more lurid experience at the same time.
I really do believe that what we do is a kind of magic. I feel like I’m dropping crumbs along the trail, Hansel and Gretel style, if people want to pick them up, they can take the journey that I’ve taken in making the work.
You’re just watching, you have a record of the decisions, and this incredible construction that in front of your very eyes, is an apparition. It’s built out of thin air, and that physicality, and the denial of physicality, and that looking back and forth is really an incredible high for me."
Heres the link to the video, if you'd like to see more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykna0l9cpLA